I remember spending hours at a time outside when I was growing up: playing with sand, mud and rocks in our garden, jumping in puddles after a rainstorm, sledging, skipping and lying in the grass staring at the clouds moving by. Unfortunately, children do not get to do this nowadays. The majority of children spend time indoors for extended periods of time, often eight to ten hours per day. In order to support our children’s health and functioning, it is vital that we encourage them to spend time outdoors.
If you want to encourage your children to live a “green” life, it is important to tell them about green practices that your family is practicing and you can ask them to take part in these. Their chores can include household practices, such as discussing green electricity, composting in the garden, recycling household waste, etc. Make it fun and challenging for everyone to participate.
I will share below 5 ways to encourage children to live a “green” life and by following these steps you will help them become healthy, eco-conscious and responsible occupants of our beautiful Earth.
- Green toys
- If possible, invest in baby or infant toys made from bamboo, unfinished wood or wood toys with water-based stains, as these are healthier options than plastic toys.
- For baby to snuggle, mouth or explore, choose blankets, organic clothing or stuffed toys made with organic cotton or wool.
- When choosing a plastic toy, it should ideally be Bisphenol A (BPA)-free, phthalate-free and PVC-free. Plastics labeled with number 1,2,4 and 5 (inside the chasing arrows triangle usually located on the bottom of a product) are considered safe to use, and clean them with strong vinegar and water solution.
- In PVC toys phthalates are used as softeners. Some PVC toys may be labeled with a V or number 3. Many toys are not labeled at all. You should avoid toys that are made of squishy plastic, such as rubber ducks and baby dolls, or like the clear pages in child photo albums, the clear plastic purses that some girl’s toys are sold in, or the plastic-like dolls’ clothes as they are very likely to be made of PVC or phthalates.
- Organic food
By their very nature children are more sensitive to pesticides than adults. A child’s body continues to grow until 18 but their brain and nervous system are under development until the age of 25. We are all exposed to more toxic chemicals than ever before but the toxic burden it is even harder on our children’s body while their systems are growing. Beyond debating their nutrient value, the most important point that needs to be acknowledged is what organic foods does not contain! Certified organic foods must be grown without the use of GMOs (genetically-modified organisms), pesticides, antibiotics and hormones. Organic fields are managed so that the soil contains more minerals that conventional farms.